Author Topic: Your TML Rebuild Plan  (Read 10752 times)

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Online CarltonTheBear

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Your TML Rebuild Plan
« on: September 09, 2015, 04:24:33 PM »
There's a few threads going on right now that have kind of touched on this topic. Or at least a lot of different people have talked about how long it might take for us to get back into the playoffs in different threads. Thought that we could tackle this head on here.

So: what's the Leafs rebuild plan right now? How are are we into a rebuild plan? How much longer are we going to completely suck? When can we expect to see another playoff game? When can we expect to at least challenge the top teams in the East/league?

While I think a lot of people like to say that the rebuild really only started with the Kessel trade, my thoughts are that it really started with the drafting of Rielly and the 2012 draft. In the past four drafts we've had three top-10 draft picks. Of those three two of them were top-5 picks, and the other was definitely in the conversation to go top-5. In Year 1 of let's say "Shanny's Rebuild", we're very likely to add another top-5 draft pick, maybe even the highest we've drafted yet. That'll mean we're heading into Year 2 of Shanny's rebuild with a core of Rielly, Nylander, Marner, and Player X.

The biggest question I think is, what happens in Year 2? I think a lot of people are assuming that we'll have another garbage fire season but I actually think that we'll start to show a decent amount of improvement that season. Especially since both Nylander and Marner will likely be full-time NHLers that season. They'll be far from their peaks but I still think they can have a positive impact on the team. I think that the 16/17 Leafs will look a lot like the 14/15 Panthers did, with Rielly/Marner/Nylander being our Ekblad/Barkov/Huberdeau. The Panthers jumped from 66 points to 91 points there, I don't know if we'll have that big of a jump from 15/16 to 16/17, but I could see us getting to around the mid-80s.

That brings us into Year 3. Our 2016 top-5 first round draft pick likely joins the squad at this time. So we'll have 3 elite, young players still on their ELC in him, Marner and Nylander. We'll have a 23-year old Morgan Rielly entering his 5th NHL season who could very well be a legitimate top pairing NHL defenceman by that point. We could have 27-year old versions of Kadri and Gardiner and a 28-year old version of JVR who would all likely be guys in between 1st and 2nd line status. And that's just what I'm pretty confident in. Toss in a keen signing or trade and a few more prospects like Brown/Kapanen/Johnson who could be NHL players at that point and I think you have a team that could very well be playoff-ready.

Years 4 & 5 would be a transition from just a playoff team to a team that could legitimate compete with the other teams. By Year 5 the oldest core guys are Kadri/Gardiner at 29 and JVR at 30. But we won't be counting on 29/30 years to lead the team as that'll be up to Rielly/Marner/Nylander/2016 dude by then. Obviously part of what got me to write this all up has to do with the conversation regarding whether or not keeping Kadri and Gardiner is in the teams best interest. If the rebuild plan is like I've drawn up, which obviously maybe it won't be, then I think the team is still going to really need all 3 of those players in a few years.

So basically a short version of what my projected time line would look like:

2014-15: 68 points
2015-16: 68 points
2016-17: 85 points
2017-18: 94 points
2018-19: 98 points
2019-20: 102 points


I'm not saying that we'll have the Cup by 2020, but I definitely don't think that we're in a position that we need to perpetually lose for awhile.

Anyways, going back to my original questions, what seasons do you guys think we'll a) get out of the bottom-5, b) get back into the playoffs and c) become a 100-point team in?

Offline bustaheims

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Re: Your TML Rebuild Plan
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2015, 04:35:45 PM »
The way I see it, is the next 2 seasons, the team will be at or near the bottom of the league. This will be the time for accumulating picks and prospects, developing young players and trading away pieces that aren't expected to be part of the long-term plan. I don't think it's a coincidence that the team didn't sign anyone for longer than 2 years this summer. I really believe 2 more seasons of bottoming out is the plan.

Year 3 is going to the when the transition starts to happen, but it'll be largely dependent on what happens with the goaltending. By then, the team will know if Bernier is the guy or not. If not, that'll extend the rebuild a little. Otherwise, I think your timeline is pretty close, CtB. You're just a year ahead of how I see it playing out.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2015, 04:39:39 PM by bustaheims »
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Offline Tigger

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Re: Your TML Rebuild Plan
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2015, 05:06:24 PM »
I can see a hard bottoming out for 2 years, then a milder one in year 3 ( still Marner and Nylanders sophomore year ), followed by 4 years of steady improvement and competitiveness and then the Leafs sign McDavid for the win. All kidding aside, to me that puts the Leafs around 4 years from playoffs and 6 years from any kind of contention status.

Rielly, Nylander, Marner plus two more top 4 picks, maybe even another top 10 and hopefully a little luck with the lower rounds and real patient development overall seems to be the plan.
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Offline mr grieves

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Re: Your TML Rebuild Plan
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2015, 06:35:51 PM »
I'm on board with CtB's timeline, because I agree that the rebuild started with Rielly. Whether the Leafs were shedding core talent fast enough to draft high enough to begin assembling a core trio of top-5 picks (or whatever it takes to really be a year-in, year-out threat) doesn't mean they haven't been enjoying the benefits of a rebuild (drafting high end talent).

That said, I think the timeline is still largely a matter of choice. That is, if the team doesn't trade Kadri, Gardiner, and JvR in the next year or so, I think there could be enough NHL talent on the roster to shelter the arriving Nylander and Marner such that the team is out of the basement (though not a playoff team) in 2016-17. But if they shed Kadri &c. before next fall, then 2016-17 can be just as brutal as 2015-16 is going to be, and they'll have another top 5 pick, some more prospects/picks that'll need a lot of development, and so an extended rebuild, which lines up with what some folks are anticipating and others are advocating (getting a bit better in 2017-18).

Which path management goes down we can't really know just yet. I'm sure it involves cap calculations as Frank's said. It probably also involves their assessment of whether Gardiner, Kadri, JvR would be more valuable to a playoff team than 2-3 other prospects, 2-3 low 1st rounders (or whatever the return is), and another top-5 pick. Will they be ready to compete with Rielly, Nylander, Marner, Elite Player X, Kadri, Gardiner, JvR as the core? Or better to wait for Rielly, Nylander, Marner, Elite Player X, Elite Player Y, and whatever those three turn into (and whenever they turn into them -- probably about when Rielly and Nylander are beginning to create cap troubles?)? As for their assessment of Kadri and Gardiner, both win the fancy stats race, and that is the direction the Leafs have been headed in, so I'd give them a better chance of being thought useful on a good team and sticking than JvR. Though I suppose that adds its own complication: isn't he supposed to be salvaged by Babcock?

Guess my answer is the future is hard to predict, but status quo says (I think) this team isn't an absolute disaster in 2016-17, and they get better from there. 

Online herman

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Re: Your TML Rebuild Plan
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2015, 08:25:33 PM »
My (hopeful) guess:

2015-16:
Lupul hits the IR in January and doesn't come back. Older expiring UFAs moved out by the deadline for 2-4th rd picks. Reimer is flipped for a 3rd and an older backup to a contender. Kadri and JvR are shopped, but Leafs will only move if the deal knocks our socks off (1st rd pick +). Hopefully we can package one of our remaining forwards (Holland, Frattin, Panik) with Robidas or Bozak for a 3rd + prospect + salary dump. Soshnikov, Bailey, Hyman, Leivo, Carrick, Loov, and Percy fill out the roster post deadline. Finish 3rd last despite the good bump in possession stats. MSM crows about how Corsi is flawed.

Kadri/JvR, if still around, are traded at the Draft for primo picks. We roll into the Draft with 12 picks and target high ceiling prospects as usual.

2016-17:
Nylander, Kapanen, Brown, Leipsic, Loov, Percy make the jump to the NHL. We finish in the bottom 5 and draft accordingly. Big trades: Gardiner (for a good pick +) and Bozak (for a song). Rielly is re-upped for $6M+/6yrs. Marner takes over 1C on the Marlies a third into the season.

2017-18:
Nylander starting to separate himself from the pack, and taking Kapanen and Brown along for the ride. Gauthier, Marner, Johnson make the jump and the Leafs are now possession fiends up and down the lineup, led from the backend by Rielly and Marincin. They make a good run at the playoffs but ultimately fall short by 2 spots.

2018-19:
Yeah, it starting to get lively on the bandwagon. Playoffs! A second round exit to the Lightning is nothing to be ashamed of though.

2019-20:
Those sleeper picks from the latter rounds of 2015 and 2016 wake up and hit the NHL. We swing for the fence July 1st for a 30G power forward and go to town on our division rivals.

Core: Nylander, Rielly, Marner
Supporting: Marincin, Dermott, Timashov, Gauthier, Brown

Offline LuncheonMeat

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Re: Your TML Rebuild Plan
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2015, 09:35:43 PM »
My (hopeful) guess:

2015-16:
Lupul hits the IR in January and doesn't come back. Older expiring UFAs moved out by the deadline for 2-4th rd picks. Reimer is flipped for a 3rd and an older backup to a contender. Kadri and JvR are shopped, but Leafs will only move if the deal knocks our socks off (1st rd pick +). Hopefully we can package one of our remaining forwards (Holland, Frattin, Panik) with Robidas or Bozak for a 3rd + prospect + salary dump. Soshnikov, Bailey, Hyman, Leivo, Carrick, Loov, and Percy fill out the roster post deadline. Finish 3rd last despite the good bump in possession stats. MSM crows about how Corsi is flawed.

Kadri/JvR, if still around, are traded at the Draft for primo picks. We roll into the Draft with 12 picks and target high ceiling prospects as usual.

2016-17:
Nylander, Kapanen, Brown, Leipsic, Loov, Percy make the jump to the NHL. We finish in the bottom 5 and draft accordingly. Big trades: Gardiner (for a good pick +) and Bozak (for a song). Rielly is re-upped for $6M+/6yrs. Marner takes over 1C on the Marlies a third into the season.

2017-18:
Nylander starting to separate himself from the pack, and taking Kapanen and Brown along for the ride. Gauthier, Marner, Johnson make the jump and the Leafs are now possession fiends up and down the lineup, led from the backend by Rielly and Marincin. They make a good run at the playoffs but ultimately fall short by 2 spots.

2018-19:
Yeah, it starting to get lively on the bandwagon. Playoffs! A second round exit to the Lightning is nothing to be ashamed of though.

2019-20:
Those sleeper picks from the latter rounds of 2015 and 2016 wake up and hit the NHL. We swing for the fence July 1st for a 30G power forward and go to town on our division rivals.

Core: Nylander, Rielly, Marner, Matthews
Supporting: Marincin, Dermott, Timashov, Gauthier, Brown

*Edited for accuracy
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Online Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate

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Re: Your TML Rebuild Plan
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2015, 09:44:26 PM »
Or, you know, Nylander, Marner, and the other prospects now on board or gotten this year and next top out at an Antropov-like level, or there is no steady improvement, or injuries derail careers, blahda blahda blahda.

I just think it's kind of premature to make predictions about where a team will be in the next X years when they largely depend on guys who have never yet played an NHL game.

Offline L K

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Re: Your TML Rebuild Plan
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2015, 10:37:11 PM »
I think I see just one or two too many guys who still have something in the tank and are looking for rebound years this year.  I'm expecting a slow start that picks up around the end of November where the Leafs go on a run into January when the first trade gets made to unload one of the one-year rentals.  The Leafs start to wane in the second half but they don't manage to come close to the 51 points put up by the Coyotes.  They finish in 3rd just ahead of Carolina.

Year 1: 72 points
Year 2: 67 points
Year 3: 72 points
Year 4: 86 points
Year 5: 95 points (playoffs)

Offline Nik the Trik

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Re: Your TML Rebuild Plan
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2015, 07:46:18 AM »

I think any predictions that start with the notion that basically all of the Leafs first rounders will turn into elite players and quickly are probably on the unrealistically optimistic side of things. Just from a strict numbers standpoint odds are that one of Rielly, Nylander, Marner and whoever they draft this year won't be all that big a deal.

It's not a matter of believing in the staff or not on that one either. Most of the best teams, the teams we'll want the Leafs to end up looking like, whiffed on some top draft picks. The Blackhawks took Cam Barker at #3, the Kings took Thomas Hickey at #4, the Lightning took Brett Connolly at #6.

So expecting this team to get close to the playoffs next year, to me, is more or less expecting every single major prospect on the team to develop exactly the way we want them to as soon as we want them to and I just don't see where that's something anyone within the organization will really be planning for.

I think we're in for something similar to what LK predicts above. Three seasons or so of general lousiness followed by a "Hey, they've really got something going on" season that falls short followed by playoff contention.
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Offline Nik the Trik

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Re: Your TML Rebuild Plan
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2015, 08:00:00 AM »
So we'll have 3 elite, young players still on their ELC in him, Marner and Nylander. We'll have a 23-year old Morgan Rielly entering his 5th NHL season who could very well be a legitimate top pairing NHL defenceman by that point. We could have 27-year old versions of Kadri and Gardiner and a 28-year old version of JVR who would all likely be guys in between 1st and 2nd line status. And that's just what I'm pretty confident in.

Honest question. Let's say you gave a random team the 8th, 5th, 4th and, say, 2nd pick over a five year stretch. Wouldn't you say that that team drafting an elite player with all four of those draft picks would rank up there with the best stretches of drafting in NHL history?
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Offline RedLeaf

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Re: Your TML Rebuild Plan
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2015, 08:12:02 AM »
So we'll have 3 elite, young players still on their ELC in him, Marner and Nylander. We'll have a 23-year old Morgan Rielly entering his 5th NHL season who could very well be a legitimate top pairing NHL defenceman by that point. We could have 27-year old versions of Kadri and Gardiner and a 28-year old version of JVR who would all likely be guys in between 1st and 2nd line status. And that's just what I'm pretty confident in.

Honest question. Let's say you gave a random team the 8th, 5th, 4th and, say, 2nd pick over a five year stretch. Wouldn't you say that that team drafting an elite player with all four of those draft picks would rank up there with the best stretches of drafting in NHL history?

Of course. That's why predicting the future is such a crapshoot. It's also why it is essential that teams get as many lottery balls in the hopper as they possibly can. It's probably also the reason Hunter tried to trade the Marner pick away for a bunch of lower picks.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2015, 08:19:38 AM by RedLeaf »
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Online CarltonTheBear

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Re: Your TML Rebuild Plan
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2015, 09:22:12 AM »
Honest question. Let's say you gave a random team the 8th, 5th, 4th and, say, 2nd pick over a five year stretch. Wouldn't you say that that team drafting an elite player with all four of those draft picks would rank up there with the best stretches of drafting in NHL history?

Maybe elite wasn't the right word, maybe I don't define an elite player the same way others do. I don't think of course that all 4 are going to be top-10 players in their respective positions, but I do think that at this point it's reasonable to project them as good top-line/pairing players. Maybe I'm being over-optimistic but I really think that we nailed our recent picks, Nylander and Marner in particular. Some people had Nylander going significantly higher in his draft, he was as much of a steal as you can get when drafting 8th overall in my opinion. And Strome and Marner would have likely been challenging for 1st overall if it wasn't for having generational guys in their same draft year. I mean I get what your'e saying, there's a chance one or two don't pan out, Rielly's the only one whose actually played an NHL game so far, but I'm not going to sour on their upside until they give me a reason to.

As for your historic question, I guess it would be up there, yeah. But I think that if any team had that many high picks for that long they'd be saying the same thing. Pittsburgh had 5-straight top-5 picks and went Whitney, Fleury, Malkin, Crosby, Staal. I'd obviously take that group over Toronto's hypothetical group considering Crosby and Malkin tower over everyone else. Chicago went Seabrook, Barker, Skille, Toews, and Kane in a 5-year stretch. Barker and Skille were obviously busts, but Toews > Marner and Kane > Nylander so again you could argue quality over quantity there. Florida had a stretch of Gudbranson-Huberdeau-Barkov-Ekblad in 5 years. Yeah, I'd take the Leafs over them there. Edmonton had a 6-year run of Hall, RNH, Yakupov, Nurse, Draisaitl, McDavid. Without McDavid I'd only give the Leafs a slight edge, with McDavid the Oilers take it.

So of the 5 teams that have had a draft stretch like that in the past while I'd rank Toronto's group 3rd, maybe 4th depending on the window we're looking at for Edmonton.

Offline Nik the Trik

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Re: Your TML Rebuild Plan
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2015, 09:40:04 AM »
Maybe elite wasn't the right word, maybe I don't define an elite player the same way others do. I don't think of course that all 4 are going to be top-10 players in their respective positions, but I do think that at this point it's reasonable to project them as good top-line/pairing players. Maybe I'm being over-optimistic but I really think that we nailed our recent picks, Nylander and Marner in particular. Some people had Nylander going significantly higher in his draft, he was as much of a steal as you can get when drafting 8th overall in my opinion. And Strome and Marner would have likely been challenging for 1st overall if it wasn't for having generational guys in their same draft year. I mean I get what your'e saying, there's a chance one or two don't pan out, Rielly's the only one whose actually played an NHL game so far, but I'm not going to sour on their upside until they give me a reason to.

As for your historic question, I guess it would be up there, yeah. But I think that if any team had that many high picks for that long they'd be saying the same thing. Pittsburgh had 5-straight top-5 picks and went Whitney, Fleury, Malkin, Crosby, Staal. I'd obviously take that group over Toronto's hypothetical group considering Crosby and Malkin tower over everyone else. Chicago went Seabrook, Barker, Skille, Toews, and Kane in a 5-year stretch. Barker and Skille were obviously busts, but Toews > Marner and Kane > Nylander so again you could argue quality over quantity there. Florida had a stretch of Gudbranson-Huberdeau-Barkov-Ekblad in 5 years. Yeah, I'd take the Leafs over them there. Edmonton had a 6-year run of Hall, RNH, Yakupov, Nurse, Draisaitl, McDavid. Without McDavid I'd only give the Leafs a slight edge, with McDavid the Oilers take it.

So of the 5 teams that have had a draft stretch like that in the past while I'd rank Toronto's group 3rd, maybe 4th depending on the window we're looking at for Edmonton.

But drafting McDavid or Crosby can't credibly be called "good" drafting in the sense I'm using it. Anyone would have made those picks. I'm talking about knocking out four top line sort of talents with only one top three pick. The Penguins drafting three good to great players drafting 1, 2, 1(or 2, 1, 3) isn't particularly remarkable outside of having those picks to begin with. I think if you went back in history and looked at teams who did have a run of multiple picks like the Leafs have had, the number of teams that wouldn't have blown at least one of those picks would be pretty small.

I don't think it's souring on anyone's upside to say that odds are that one of these guys won't turn out the way we hope. I mean, hell, right now we're including their hypothetical 2016 first rounder and I can't very well sour on him without knowing who he is. It's just acknowledging that everything going right for a team is probably within the realm of extreme unlikelihood. You can acknowledge a player's upside while realizing that players don't always reach their maximum potential.

But, honestly, it's not even that which presents the greatest question mark. It seems to me that your scenario not only doesn't allow for a situation where any of the Leafs draft picks end up being significant disappointments, it doesn't really even allow for a situation where any of the Leafs draft picks have a sort of Ryan Johansen-esque journey to being a top player where they take a couple of years to contribute in a meaningful way.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2015, 09:42:09 AM by Nik the Trik »
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Online CarltonTheBear

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Re: Your TML Rebuild Plan
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2015, 10:04:58 AM »
But, honestly, it's not even that which presents the greatest question mark. It seems to me that your scenario not only doesn't allow for a situation where any of the Leafs draft picks end up being significant disappointments, it doesn't really even allow for a situation where any of the Leafs draft picks have a sort of Ryan Johansen-esque journey to being a top player where they take a couple of years to contribute in a meaningful way.

I guess it was a little unclear with how I phrased something in my Year 3 paragraph, but I don't think it'll be until Year 4 when Marner/Nylander/2016 when they really take over the team. By then Marner and Nylander will be in the 3rd year of their ELC, 2016 guy in his 2nd. I think that having some success while these guys are on ELCs is pretty key and not completely unrealistic.

I think that they'll have good rookie seasons in Year 2, but nothing extraordinary for top rookies their age. And I think that we have good reason to think that they'll be better than a Ryan Johansen for instance. Nylander will have 2 years of professional experience where he was the top player on his team. Marner doubled Johansen's point output in their draft years and will likely crush his draft+1 season too. At the same age they were better players than Johansen.

Offline Nik the Trik

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Re: Your TML Rebuild Plan
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2015, 10:23:06 AM »
I guess it was a little unclear with how I phrased something in my Year 3 paragraph, but I don't think it'll be until Year 4 when Marner/Nylander/2016 when they really take over the team. By then Marner and Nylander will be in the 3rd year of their ELC, 2016 guy in his 2nd. I think that having some success while these guys are on ELCs is pretty key and not completely unrealistic.

The disconnect is that I don't really see how the team can have the sort of improvement that you project for them in years 2 and 3 without contributions from Marner and Nylander that do have them making exceptional showings as rookies and second year players. Absent that it seems like we're talking about a 20-25 point increase from year one to year two almost entirely on the backs of Kadri, Gardiner and Rielly.

I think that they'll have good rookie seasons in Year 2, but nothing extraordinary for top rookies their age. And I think that we have good reason to think that they'll be better than a Ryan Johansen for instance. Nylander will have 2 years of professional experience where he was the top player on his team. Marner doubled Johansen's point output in their draft years and will likely crush his draft+1 season too. At the same age they were better players than Johansen.

The point there wasn't compare either player to Johansen but, rather, to the pattern of development Johansen took to get to where he did which really isn't all that uncommon. Most players are ineffective their rookie years. Some that aren't take steps back in their second years. Again, I'm not saying that none of these guys will be good as rookies, it's the likelihood of all of them being very good as rookies and second year players I doubt. Lots of very good players have hiccups in their development.

It just doesn't seem like you've allowed for any margin of error here. At all.
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Re: Your TML Rebuild Plan
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2015, 10:23:06 AM »